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Academic Writing Guide

What is APA Style?

APA Style is a standardized writing format, established by the American Psychological Association, which you may need to follow when submitting projects or papers. If you have questions about APA formatting, look at our APA Style Guide.

How to Develop a Topic

  • Choose a topic that interests you and will hold your attention. If you do, the research will be more enjoyable! 
  • Choose a topic which has ample research available. When considering a topic, do a little preliminary searching to see if enough research exists for your to complete your assignment.
  • Choose a topic that is not too broad. You want to be able to cover your topic within the assignment parameters. If you are writing a 5 page paper, you will want to make sure your topic is narrow enough to cover in those 5 pages. 

Background Research

Person at laptop keyboardPurpose of Background Research:

  • Provides a good overview of the topic if you are unfamiliar with it

  • Helps identify important facts -- terminology, dates, events, history, organizations, etc.
  • Can help refine your topic
  • Leads to bibliographies which provide additional sources of information

Recommended Databases for Background Research:

Developing a Research Question or Thesis Statement

After you have selected your topic and completed your background research, you must formulate a research question and/or thesis statement.

A research question is the topic you are trying to answer; a thesis statement provides the answer to that question.

Video: Developing a Research Question

Video: Thesis Statements

Video: Mapping Your Ideas

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